Ever wish to be a superhero ... or a super villain?
It may not be appropriate to show up masked and caped to your job, but magical garb is more than acceptable at Medford Comic Con, the Medford library’s fourth annual convention of comic book and pop culture.
Cosplay — dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game — is one of the biggest highlights of the event. Look for cosplay karoake, visit a special effects and prosthetic makeup demonstration, or mend that burst seam from doing good deeds — or not — at a costume repair station. Then pose at DC Comics or Avenger superhero photo opps, and sign up for one of the event’s costume contests.
Medford Comic Con is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at the Medford library, 205 S. Central Ave.
Events, activities and vendors will be set up throughout the library and also next door on the first and second floors of the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, plus outdoors along Ninth and Bartlett streets, between Riverside and Central avenues.
Look for geocaching (with a limited number of commemorative geocache coins), costuming, cartooning, speculative fiction, filmmaking, publishing and computer-generated reality workshops, along with re-enactments of Dark Ages combat, a sci-fi and fantasy open mic session, video games, painting classes and more.
Drone racing and themed cars will be available outside, and a Pokémon League tournament will be at Astral Games, 125 S. Central Ave. Other downtown businesses also will particpate.
More than 70 vendors will set up shop both days, with merchants selling a variety of comics, art and cosplay props. Anyone wanting a bite to eat will have 10 food trucks parked along South Bartlett Street to choose from.
“It’s all part of the library’s commitment to promote literacy and community engagement, but by stepping outside the box,” says Laura Kimberly, project manager and assistant director of branches and youth services for the Jackson County Library District. “Comic Con encourages literacy and innovation through popular media, arts, comics, game-playing and design.”
The event started in 2015 as a way to celebrate the library’s summer reading theme “Every Hero Has a Story.” Attendance has continued to grow each year, from 2,000 at the inaugural event to about 5,000 in 2016 and 12,000 in 2017, according to the event’ website.
“I’ve watched it grow every year,” Kimberly says. “The community loves it.”
New this year is Harry Potter World. The library’s Childrens Department will be turned into a fantastic place where kids can make wands and potions and play games.
“There will be sorting hats for the kids,” Kimberly says. “Each kid will be sorted into one of the different houses featured in Harry Potter stories, bringing the world of Harry Potter alive at the library.”
Visitors also can explore the sources of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Silmarillion, along with the legends of Atlantis, the curse of Macbeth and “The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs.”
Portland-based graphic-novel author and filmmaker David Walker will host a free workshop on Saturday in RCC’s computer lab. He’s penned comic book titles “Power Man,” “Iron Fist” and “Nighthawk” for Marvel comics, “Cyborg” for DC Comics and “Shaft” for Dynamite Entertainment, along with his young adult series featuring black teen hero Darius Logan.
“Shaft” is one of a series of black characters that allowed Walker to tackle race and identity in a medium historically the domain of white men, according to Portland Monthly.
Walker demolished new barriers last year with “Superb” (Lion Forge), the first comic book series to center on a superhero with Down Syndrome. The book focuses on Jonah, a teenage boy with Down Syndrome who acquires the powers of his favorite comic book character, Cosmosis, after he’s exposed to fragments of a meteor.
Also on Saturday, a panel led by Tanya Reasor, Tim Boyles and Rusty Wood will take visitors through the history of Yuki the Destroyer and examine the process of taking sketches to digitally publishing.
For a comprehensive schedule of events, see jcls.org/mcc or find the event’s Facebook page at facebook.com/medfordcomiccon.
Admission to Comic Con is free to all ages. Kids and families can compete in the costume contest on Saturday; teens and adults and compete on Sunday.
There is a $5 entry fee for the Pokéman League tournament at Astral Games.
This year Jackson County Library will offer commemorative library cards with a superhero theme to celebrate Medford Comic Con 2018.